I’ve always enjoyed Andrew Sullivan, and in many ways I consider him an inspiration. He’s always embodied non-conformity, and while I haven’t always agreed with him, I’ve always respected him. (I’ve only been blogging two years, so I guess I can’t always expect “always” to be that way always.)
The other day, Andrew Sullivan crossed a line when he insinuated that Glenn Reynolds was an enabler of the “theocratic impulses” of the religious right:

I’d like to think that bringing the evangelical right along was part of building a coalition to fight the war. I’m certainly not impugning Glenn’s good reasons for voting for Bush on those grounds. But in my darker moments, I wonder whether the war wasn’t a cover to persuade good, open-minded folk like Glenn to enable the theocratic impulses of the Republican base. Of course, Glenn can wait and see.

While I thought that was a crock of utter shit, I let it pass, because Andrew Sullivan is entitled to a tantrum every once in a while like we all are, and besides, earlier yesterday he seemed to apologize — a little:

IN THE GRIP OF A “THEOCRACY”? Pace Glenn Reynolds, I don’t think and have never said that we’re in the grips of a “theocracy.” We live in a constitutional democracy. Iranians live in a theocracy, and I am aware of the difference. But one element of our politics – one that happens to have a veto on Republican social policy – does hold that religion should dictate politics, and that opposition to a certain politics is tantamount to anti-religious bigotry.

OK, fair enough.
But shortly after the “apology,” Sullivan issued an even more unfair outburst:

DOES GLENN KNOW ABOUT THIS? Banning new books in public libraries that feature any gay characters or are written by gay authors? There are no theocratic tendencies among the Republicans, are there? My favorite quote from the bigot behind this: “I don’t look at it as censorship,” says Alabama State Representative Gerald Allen. “I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children.” The guy wanted to ban some Shakespeare. But Capote, Wilde, Auden, Proust and who knows who else will be barred. Government as the protector of souls. What are these “hysterics” worrying about “theocratic impulses” going on about?

Sorry, but something about the tone — DOES GLENN KNOW ABOUT THIS?” strikes me as almost, well, inquisitorial. Very unlike Andrew Sullivan.
Since when is Glenn Reynolds responsible every time a bigoted hick legislator acts up somewhere in the South?
It’s not as if Glenn Reynolds hasn’t made it clear where he stands. He’s repeatedly slammed Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as idiotarians, and likened Randall Terry to Ward Churchill, supported gay marriage, legalization of drugs, opposed criminalization of dildos in the South, and I don’t even see why I should have to list these things or defend Glenn Reynolds. What do I have to do? Cite his entire blog? It is as undignified as it is unnecessary.
Then this morning, I saw a long review of the president’s press conference titled “INSTAPUNDIT.”
What the hell is this nonsense about?
Screw this attempt (by Sullivan, anyway) to instigate a feud or whatever it is — and screw this damnably PC inquisitorial mindset! Glenn Reynolds does not have to answer to Andrew Sullivan at all, much less be held accountable for antigay prejudice or bigotry — least of all in the South. He has done and said nothing to deserve Sullivan’s clear, repeated attempts at shame. I’d expect something like this from the moralistic scolds (of left and right) that Sullivan and Reynolds both condemn.
I just never, ever expected to see it coming from Andrew Sullivan.
It borders on outright political correctness, and it really bothers me. I didn’t want to write about it at all, but I hate politically correct scolding and shaming and I know it when I see it. This recent theme of Andrew Sullivan’s is not going away. Maybe I shouldn’t be reading Andrew Sullivan. But I am, and while I hope I am misreading this, I don’t like what I’m seeing.
If I said nothing, then I’d be enabling shame.
(Even by Andrew Sullivan’s much higher standards.)
MORE: Regarding the bigoted legislator referred to above, there seems to be a meme going around that “the south” and “the Republicans” share collective responsibility for the actions of a few individuals (or for that matter, even a particular individual). Here’s John Aravosis:

I’m sorry, but the south really needs to clean up its act, along with the Republican party. This man should be thrown out of the party and out of the Alabama state house. This is reprehensible.
Gay groups, PLEASE pick this up and make it an issue. This is your chance, grab it, use it, run with it, and force the GOP, the religious right, and the south to grow the hell up once and for all and take some responsibility for themselves.

There is no question that this obnoxious attempt at “legislation” is as bigoted as it would be unconstitutional. But it didn’t pass, and despite the post’s title — “Ok, THIS is Nazi Germany in America,” it isn’t “Nazi Germany in America.” Furthermore, attacking a region and a huge political party for the actions of a few bigots in this way is nothing less than another form of bigotry. Last time I looked, a lot of people lived in the South — and anyone was still allowed to join either party.
It goes without saying that bigotry can take many forms. Not allowing libraries to buy books by gay authors is one form. I think attacking sexual freedom by means of that noxious practice called “outing” is another.
AND MORE: I hasten to add that Andrew Sullivan is not a practitioner of “outing.” Actually he’s been more like a victim of the people who do such things.
(Regular readers know this already, but I wouldn’t want new readers making unwarranted assumptions about Sullivan.)
UPDATE (05/01/05): Andrew Sullivan links to this post by PolySciFi Blog highlighting an important fact: the Alabama ban on gay authors would prohibit advocacy of most heterosexual conduct as well! (As I keep saying, most sodomy is heterosexual. Why can’t they get it, um, straight?)
High time we got all those Harlequin romance novels, and then (to quote Gerald Allen, the bill’s sponsor), “Dig a hole, and dump them in it!”
Does Mrs. Allen know about the bill?